Tuija Talvitie: Gender equality and innovation at the core of CMI’s new strategy

Published on Friday, 20th of April 2018

CMI’s Executive Director Tuija Talvitie reflects on the past year and discusses the new strategy and growth areas for CMI.

CMI’s Executive Director Tuija Talvitie. Photo: Riku Isohella

A new strategy aims to strengthen CMI’s role as one of the leaders in the field. We focus on enhancing women’s participation and on developing innovative approaches to peacemaking.

In 2017 we had a number of milestone events to take to heart. It was a special year for all Finns, marking our 100 years of independence. Our first century is an inspiring story of transformation – a developing country torn by civil war turning into one of the most peaceful and prosperous societies in the world. That wasn’t just a lucky strike, it took a vision of inclusion, egalitarian policies and relentless work.

In June we also celebrated President Ahtisaari’s 80th birthday and his unique achievements in peacemaking. True to his word, he passed the Chairman’s gavel to Alexander Stubb and continues as CMI’s senior advisor. We offer our heartfelt thanks to President Ahtisaari for having the vision and courage to set up CMI to complement the efforts of formal actors. We also offer a warm welcome to our new Chair Alexander Stubb who will be the guardian of the Ahtisaari legacy but also take us to the next level.

It was also time for CMI to take stock of our trials and successes and to envision our role in the years to come. Our new strategy builds on our still valid mission and vision – we continue to focus on preventing and resolving violent conflicts, and we still believe that all conflicts can be resolved.

So what will change?

We have identified five growth areas for CMI that look to the future and strengthen our sustainability. During the 18 years of hard work building on President Ahtisaari’s legacy, investing in organisational capacity, being true to our high-level professionalism built and our track record in mediation, we want to remain one of the leading independent mediation actors.

Firstly, our focus will be on gender equality and women’s participation in peace processes because we believe that inclusivity is key to sustainable peace. CMI’s approach is very holistic and gender-sensitivity is considered in all our activities.

Secondly, we engage in the development of innovative approaches to peacemaking. The resurgence of power politics has created an even more urgent need for creative mechanisms and tools. Though much of the peacemaking still happens directly in human interaction, new technologies, artificial intelligence and big data can help us take steps, if not leaps, forward.

Thirdly, securing strategic partnerships and sustainable funding is key to us. CMI’s partnership with Finland is complemented by bilateral agreements with institutions and governments, as well as with international and private fundraising from individuals, foundations and companies. In the increasing complexity in the world of conflicts, coordination and complementarity are critical. At specific junctures, we can take on initiatives that formal actors cannot or are not ready to undertake. We seek to increase our funding base from the current 8 million to 10 million by 2020.

Fourthly, we nurture opportunities for professional growth of our own staff but also for the conflict resolution community at large. We need the best talent with strong skills and adequate tools to tackle the intricate issues of this field.

Our fifth growth area is strengthening our adaptive and results-based management. Organisations involved in conflict resolution are facing growing public demands for demonstrable results and better value for money. This requires adaptive approaches to assessing and communicating results to key stakeholders and the general public. This annual report is an example of that reporting.

We are fully committed to the new strategy that sets a high standard for our work, as it should. In the next couple of years CMI will become even better equipped to continue building peace in the most complex conflict environments on this planet. With your support that is possible.

Tuija Talvitie

You can read the whole Annual Report 2017 here